The White House said on Thursday a severe winter storm engulfing Texas and nearby states was the type of extreme weather event that climate change is triggering, rejecting assertions by Texas officials that "green energy" caused widespread power outages.
The White House on Thursday blamed climate change for the severe winter storm engulfing Texas and nearby states.
It was a stark rejection of what some Texas officials are saying that "green energy" was to blame for power outages.
By late Thursday some 325,000 households were still without power, down from several million the day before.
In a phone briefing, White House advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall told reporters that "the extreme weather events that we're experiencing this week... do yet again demonstrate to us that climate change is real and it's happening now." She added the storm had exposed weaknesses in American power grid infrastructure that needed to be addressed.
Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott had blamed the crisis earlier this week on Democratic efforts to replace fossil fuel with green energy sources.
Though on Thursday White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted that's not what the state's power agency said.
"Numerous reports have actually shown the contrary, that it was failures in coal and natural gas that contributed to the state's power shortages and officials at Electric Reliability Council of Texas which operates the state's power grid have gone so far as to say that failures in wind and solar were the least significant factors in the blackouts." U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Abbott late on Thursday, according to a White House statement, to discuss how the federal government could help meet the critical needs of those affected.
The White House said Biden would also ensure to improve "critical infrastructure so that it can be prepared to meet a full spectrum of challenges that we're likely to face." Earlier this year, Abbott had fought Biden's green energy push by pausing new oil and gas leases, and cutting fossil fuel subsidies.
He also did not initially acknowledge Biden's 2020 election win.